Virgin Hyperloop One names Richard Branson chairman, raises $50 mn

Virgin Hyperloop One has announced a new record speed in its latest trials. Courtesy Hyperloop One

Virgin Hyperloop One has announced a new record speed in its latest trials. Courtesy Hyperloop One

Branson's Virgin Group invested an undisclosed amount in Hyperloop One in October as part of an $85m funding.

In addition, Virgin Hyperloop One noted that it has also set a historic test speed record of almost 387 kilometers per hour (240 miles per hour, 107 meters per second) during its third phase of testing at DevLoop, the world's first full-scale hyperloop test site.

Virgin Hyperloop One, the startup aiming to build a high-tech, high-speed transit system, said Monday it had appointed billionaire Richard Branson as its chairman.

Phase 3 tested the prototype pod's electric motor, control system and magnetic levitation system, as well as the tunnel's vacuum system and air lock.

Hyperloop One's co-founders, executive chairman Shervin Pishevar and president of engineering Josh Giegel, have previously worked at Virgin Galactic, Branson's space company.

The elevation to a leadership position comes after the firm's co-executive chairman and co-founder Shervin Pishevar took a leave of absence in the wake of sexual assault allegations. These two companies are based in Russian Federation and Dubai, respectively, with Virgin Hyperloop One starting off on its capital and running out, with 300 employees at risk of losing their jobs if more funding wasn't secured.

This investment brings the total financing raised by Virgin Hyperloop One to $295 million since its founding in 2014. The company is also in the process of rebranding itself Virgin Hyperloop One. Axios reported that the company had been "running very low on cash" before the fresh funding came in. Branson had taken a board seat at the company through this investment.

Lloyd said that the company planned to focus on "accelerating commercial agreements for both passenger and cargo projects" in 2018.

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